Two Sides of the Coin

What will your day be like?

Heads

Sunday, my run was awesome. Probably the best run since I’ve gotten back to running. Sundays are my days for my long run trying to increase mileage and of course duration. I woke up early, trying to do that more frequently and made myself some steel cut oats with mixed fruits. This is also working out well as I’m finding eating this is helping in providing that energy needed for the first bit of the run.

My long run this Sunday was 2 hours in duration. Started the run feeling really good almost like it was effortless. 45 minutes in I consumed my first gel pack – still feeling good. 90 minutes in, keeping my pace and consuming water with electrolytes every 20 minutes and have my second gel pack. I tell myself 30 minutes more but I’m not doing it in a reassuring way, not saying it in a manner of ‘Come on, you can do this, only 30 minutes left!’ more just for information to gauge when I should take my next drink. I’m at an hour and 55 minutes and I feel great! I’m thinking do I keep running? Maybe I can hit 2.5 hours but I real back the enthusiasm and remind myself that I’m not even a month into this and I don’t want to injure myself. Doing what I planned to do is enough. I’m trying to be smarter with my training. These long runs are to get the body and the mind used to the constant repetition that comes with running, strengthening the tendons, the muscles, ligaments and so on. I know I made the right choice Monday when I could feel the tightness in my hip flexors. Next Sunday.

But I felt so strong and relaxed I know I could have continued.

Tails

Then there’s today. I didn’t sleep well, woke up 90 minutes before I usually do. Might have been the wind crashing into the window as the winter has turned nasty this last day. I got up feeling alright, cleared my drive way and headed off to work. A couple hours into work I started to feel tired, yawning a lot and feeling somewhat lifeless. Stress started to weigh on me too. I have a hard time  separating stress from what I need to accomplish. I find it can take away what motivates me and it gets flipped, reversed and I then have to fight with my mind to do what I have planned to do.

I went down to the gym telling myself that I have to do this. My fast runs, interval runs through the week are what helps me when I have my slow run on Sundays. I have to tell myself if I’m going to run that marathon I have to do this. But it’s tough. My enemy brain is working overtime to have me turn around and head back up to my desk. ‘Skip today’, ‘You’re tired’, ‘You’ll never do this anyway’, ‘What does it matter?’, ‘Just quit’.

Yeah, those and other things is what my enemy mind tells me. I’m sure you are probably the same, we all have that enemy mind in us. The mind that knows what to tell us to get us to quit doing the things that are good for us, flips the switch so we start doing the things that destroy us slowly or destroy us in a minute. I fought with that voice today and I’m not going to say I won. I’m not going to be that arrogant or cocky. I did do what I set out to do – I did my interval running and got cleaned up and went back to work. Done.

Heads/Tails

Am I stronger today for this? I really don’t know. I think all someone can do is handle each day as it comes. I know I’m not always going to come out of it the way I did today. I don’t think that is a realistic way to look at it.

I do know my enemy mind will always be there tempting me to fail again. Not every day. It’s kind of like that neighbor that for the most part is quiet but some days…

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

first

Don’t waste it

I was reminded by a few people over the holidays that I’m not big on new years resolutions. It’s true. And it wasn’t until I really thought about it that I realized I’m not a fan because typically new years resolutions don’t last. I read recently that only 8% to as high as 20% of resolutions end up being successful. Not really good numbers. But, what are the changes that people resolved to follow through with? How many of those were to quit smoking, drinking, cutting out junk food? If these are things you do on a regular basis, habits, than the difficulty in following through on them is much higher compared to things such as I’m going to walk for an hour once a week.

Major changes in life style can be hard to accomplish. I think it comes down to the want. How bad do you want it. Do you really want this change. That can help out a lot. I think that’s why people in general are more successful when they are guided along and goals are set for them. Let’s take stretching as an example. I promise to myself to stretch after every workout. Not may people do that. But lets say your workout takes place in an instructor led class. If you are forced to stretch because the instructor includes in it the program than you are almost guaranteed a 100% success rate. But not all of our goals can be addressed this way. So what do we do.

Force the issue

Can you sign up for an event that if you don’t follow through with your goal you will fail or be forced to drop out? If you have read my last couple of posts you see that I have registered for my first marathon. So I know when those days come where motivation is thin (those days will come) I have that reminder, that commitment to follow through on the event.

Letting friends know can have it’s benefits. I bolded the word friends because I want to emphasize that it should be true friends, people that you can count on for support when you have those moments where you feel like you are going to slip. A good friend can help you get past that hump and back onto track. Motivation can also be fear of failure or wanting to prove others wrong. So you can use those people who aren’t really friends too by telling yourself that they will not win, they will not see you fail. For some people this can be a huge motivator. I’m leaning on this a bit myself because I have a point to make that you can do incredible things living on a whole foods plant based diet. Part of my motivation is to prove those people wrong, be a voice for the silent, I already know there are doubters out there and I’m looking forward to crossing that finish line.

Another motivator can be to put yourself in positive role model role. Can your resolution be used to motivate others or be used to show the benefits of doing this? We need good, positive role models out there and you may not realize it but you probably have a large influence in the lives of people you know. Be it that you are around certain people every week or you have a tight bond because they are family can result in a much larger impact. You have more of an influence on these people than some instagram influencer. Hopefully.

You

Why is it you want to do this? Feeling fat, or maybe you are fat? Is there a time where you are at your worst because of this? Then do what you can to remember those things. Put on the clothes that don’t fit any longer. Take pictures of what you look in clothes and what you look like in underwear. Don’t like doing this? Don’t like the fact that you no longer look like what you want? Good! This is your motivation! Use this when you struggle to make the change and keep working on it.

Is there a video you can play that gets you pumped, gets you energized and reminds you of what’s possible? I have one. Watch this if you want some motivation when things get tough. It doesn’t even have to be relative to what you are doing. Two people who could have easily given up on life but decided not to and faced the challenges realizing growth comes from struggle.

It’s up to you. Your destiny, your success lies with you and only you. It’s true! Don’t let the evil part of your mind tell you different. And it will.

All of us have the ability to be what we want to be. You just have to cut out the bullshit and do it. The video above could have easily ended up different, it could have been a whole different story. Write your story the way you want to.

Yours in health,

Darryl

perspective is relative

The journey is about to begin

My last post talked about a goal I have set for this upcoming year, 2019. I’ve committed myself to this goal be it a good idea or a bad idea but I feel it’s time. It’s time I’ve challenged myself because without challenging yourself you don’t grow, you become stagnant, and that’s not good.

And I love a challenge. Years ago I went through basic training and spent 3 years in the military. During that time I volunteered and completed the ships diver course, an intensive physical course that has a drop out rate of 60%. I went back to school in my mid twenties to get  a degree in computer science, not an easy thing to do going back to school as a mature student. Took up running, running long distances but never in an official event. Started training in Karate and received my black belt in under 5 years. Went back to school sort of to become a certified personal trainer. Recently started my course on plant based nutrition from Cornell University. And now I’ve signed up for a marathon at the end of April, my first ‘official’ marathon.

Why?

I’ve been asking myself that question. It wasn’t a compulsive decision, sort of. Because of my roll at the dojo, teaching all ages and being in a somewhat of an influential position, be it that I bring this on myself or because it’s been bestowed onto me, I am a believer that if you talk the talk you need to walk the walk.

I don’t bring up my position on eating a whole foods plant based diet when I am teaching unless I’m asked for nutrition advice, or it somehow comes up otherwise for numerous reasons. But, I’ve been feeling that I’m not a good role model in this regard. I want to be that person that when someone comments that a whole foods plant based diet is incomplete, that you can’t perform at your best, that you ‘need meat’ I’ll prove them wrong. I’ll show them what can be done eating nothing but plants. But I need a point of reference.

But I’m not doing this for me. This isn’t to stroke my ego, not a fan of ribbons, this is to help people become more than they are, to become the best they can be. I can’t do that right now because for too long I’ve neglected the physical side of my training.

Now

I’ve completed all of my physical accomplishments before following a vegan lifestyle. At this point I have no reference for comparison. But that is about to change.15 weeks of training and than time to run 26 miles fueled exclusively from plants.

It’s going to be tough, it’s going to suck. I’m not going to lie and paint this as a walk in the park. I’m heavier than I should be,  too much heavier. Too much beer and potato chips have added the pounds to my frame. But I’ll do it. I have to.

I want to do something that can make a positive change in this world. I want to be leading the 5 mile run on May 4th for our next group of future black belts. I can’t influence everyone but if I can show a few people what eating only plants can do than maybe they’ll see through all the lies perpetuated by the media and society, that we can’t survive without killing animals and consuming them. I know this. More will find out. I’m going to draw a picture the size of a mountain.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Check back here frequently for updates on my progress. This just might become a mini story.

the bridge came up short

Abdominals

Understanding how muscle contraction works can greatly help you in working the muscles you are trying to work. As an example let’s look at the bicep muscle. The bicep muscles (there are 2, hence bicep) originate at the coracoid process (part of the scapula, the shoulder blade) and has an insertion point of the radius bone in your lower arm. To work the bicep muscles we grab an appropriate weight be it a barbell or dumbbell and starting with our arm straight we then bend our arm, bringing the weight up towards our shoulder. Most muscles are worked this way. The muscles will typically cross a joint (the elbow in this example) and we work that muscle by using the joint it crosses. The same with the tricep muscles originating from the humerus (upper arm) and having an insertion point of the ulna (lower arm) crossing the elbow joint. We work the tricep muscles inversely to how we work the bicep muscles. Makes sense.

So knowing this can help in how you work the muscles as the primary movers or secondary movers or stabilizers. Our abdominal muscles are a good example of this. Our abdominal muscles are comprised of the rectus abdominis and the transversus abdominis. The rectus abdominis is what we all understand as our abs, this muscle group is what we see when we have an 8 pack (tough to get, most only achieve a 6 pack). The transversus abdominis we don’t notice that much as sits just below and beind the rectus abdominis but also behind the external and internal obliques. It sometimes is referred to as the girdle muscle as it wraps around transversely. Connected to our illiac crest (pubic area) and the cartilage of the lower ribs it does look like a girdle. With this large muscle having fibers running transversely it is a key component of the core. No joints being crossed.

The rectus abdominis originates at the pubis and inserts on the 5-7th costal cartilages (ribs), and on the xiphoid process of the sternum. No joints being crossed.

So here we have 2 muscle groups that don’t cross any joints in our body. How do we contract the muscles if they don’t cross a joint? Think of that when doing exercises such as leg raises. If the motion of raising and lowering our legs does not cause the concentric or eccentric contraction of our core muscles because those muscles are not connected to our femur (upper leg) bone then how is this an exercise for the core?

This is where it’s up to you. These abdominal muscles will play a stabilizer role in this exercise helping you to keep you core stable as you keep your back on the floor. But, you have to actively think of this, you have to focus on these core muscles engaging and stabilizing your body, your core. What also helps with this is using the isometric contraction to contract the muscles.

planking
planking comes in many ways

Isometric contraction is contracting the muscle without lengthening (eccentric contraction) or shortening (concentric contraction). How can you do this with the abs? Think of tightening your abs as if someone was going to punch you in the gut. The muscles are contracting but not lengthening or shortening. You can also do this: Suck in your abs drawing in your lower abdomen below your naval, and hold it. This is referred to as hollowing or vacuuming. You can do this, and isometric contractions anytime; sitting, standing, working, etc. Do this and hold it for 10 – 15 seconds to start, and be sure to continue to breathe. Then increase the time to 30 seconds, or a minute. Be sure to incorporate this into workouts when planking, etc.

Let’s look at some exercises we can do to strengthen these muscles:

  • Russian twist: Starting seated with knees together and bent, raise your feet about 6 inches off of the floor and lean back slightly. Twist from side to side keeping your core tight in that vacuum state and as you twist bring both hands over try to touch the ground.
  • Plank: Staring laying down on your belly lift your body up onto your elbows and toes. Keep you hips up imagining a line from your shoulders to your ankle and your hips intercepting that line. Keep the belly sucked in actively engaging the transversus abdominis. To add difficulty lift a hand up straight out ahead and to add even more difficulty do the same with a leg lifting the opposite foot off of the ground  keeping the leg straight.
  • Crunches: If is very important to keep a neutral spine while doing crunches. This means not pulling on your head and curving the spine while crunching. Most people do this because it makes it easier and makes us feel like we are being successful. Doing more of something that can hurt us is not being successful. Keeping your spine in a neutral position put your hands by your ears and look straight up. Now, bending at the hips, contracting your abs, lift your shoulders up off the ground. Now, lower back down but don’t let your shoulders touch the ground! Keeping the load on the abs by not letting your shoulders touch the ground thus eliminating the rest is really hard but this is what will get you a strong  transversus abdominis and will help prevent back injuries and will also help in giving you that flat stomach most people are looking for. Technique is key as always

Working muscles that don’t cross a joint is harder as it requires much more concentration and focus since it’s not as easy as moving a limb. YOU HAVE TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE THE MUSCLES BY ISOMETRIC CONTRACTION OR BY HOLLOWING. Not doing these things will result in putting in lots of time but not getting the results you want and need.

This post is just the beginning of building a strong core. My plan is to break it down even further in upcoming posts. But this should get you started and covers enough to give you a strong back supporting core.

And remember, if a muscle does not bridge a joint, bending a joint does not work it directly.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Those who never retract their opinions

It may not be needed but with it, life is so much better. It’s never really talked about when people discuss what they eat. Our good friend fiber.

It isn’t needed. It’s not an essential nutrient like water, carbohydrates, or protein. We don’t need it to sustain life but with it everything just runs so much better. And you run better. Someone asks you where do you get your protein? Ask them, where do you get your fiber.

What

Dietary fiber is a plant based carbohydrate but unlike other carbs it cannot be broken down into sugar molecules. Therefore, fiber passes though us relatively intact. And as it passes through our body it does some great things.

  • Normalizes bowel movements: Basically fiber increases the size of the stool making it easier to pass and it also softens it.
  • Maintain bowel health: Studies have shown it lowers risk of colorectal cancer. Also, having good bowel health also means less time in the bathroom sitting possibly resulting in hemorrhoids.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels: Eating beans, oats and other foods high in soluble fiber may help lower cholesterol by lowering LDL, the bad cholesterol.
  • Helps you live longer: Some studies have shown the a high fiber diet may reduce risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. More on this below.

 

Some Details

Let’s look a little deeper into how having a diet high in cholesterol can help us live longer and disease free longer. We live during a time where we are exposed to a lot of chemicals. The stuff we put on and in our body: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, anti-persperant, makeup. The air we breathe full of toxic chemicals. Maybe you’ve heard about the recent VW emissions scandal where they where convicted of using a cheating device on their emissions tests. It’s so bad even a VW executive is going to jail for it! The clean diesel they were selling…not so clean. The same with coal, clean coal is a lie from the coal lobby so coal will continue to be used as a source of energy. Then there’s the food we eat: fast food and prepared foods loaded with chemicals so they last longer and don’t spoil. Chemicals put in to replicate flavours instead of using the actual product that has the flavour they are trying to replicate. Why use the actual product, that would be too expensive and companies – share holders, wouldn’t make as much money.

We can do things to limit our exposure to chemicals. Change what we eat, use shampoos that don’t have chemicals as examples. I recently purchased vegan all natural deodorant. Made 100% from natural products – no toxic chemicals at all. Even the packaging the deodorant itself comes in is made toxic chemical free. And this shit works!

But ultimately we cannot eliminate exposure to all toxic chemicals in our lives. It’s pretty much impossible. The world just isn’t that big anymore. And if you live in a large urban area you are even at a greater exposure. But this is where fiber comes in. As mentioned earlier fiber is a carbohydrate but does not break down into a sugar molecule, it maintains it’s roughness so to speak. And as fiber passes through our intestinal track it picks up the toxic waste our body’s liver processed and wants to get rid of. The toxic waste adheres to the fiber and is eventually excreted from our body. But, if there isn’t any fiber there for the toxic waste to cling too, the toxic chemicals are absorbed back into our body.

But what else does fiber remove from our body? Hormones. Hormones that come from the foods we eat. What’s that? You eat meat that has not been fed hormones so you are ok, right? Not really. Consumption of beef, chicken, pork has shown to increase the amount of estrogen in individuals. Trying to start a family and not having any luck? Hmm…maybe read this. And if you consume dairy you are also including estrogen into your diet. Think about it, diary is made by mom cows who just had a baby (yep, cows make milk for their newborn baby, not there 16 year old baby, and not for us) and most times are impregnated shortly again and that milk is made up of stuff to get that baby cow up to 500 lbs as quickly as possible, usually within a year. It’s funny how people will argue eating meat is natural, we’ve always done it but ignore ‘natural’ or nature when it comes to the fact that we are the only species that continue to consume dairy after being weaned well into our old age and fuck, we drink milk from another animal!!! Offer that person a glass of human milk and they would call it gross, disgusting. But continue to drink cows milk, and eat meat because natural tho.

That’s right, animal products – meat, milk, etc. have no fiber at all. None. Zilch. Nada. On the flip side a whole foods plant based diet will give you more than enough fiber, every day! Fuck yeah!

Do I need to say more? Do I really need to make a list of foods high in fiber? No. I don’t. It should be clear up to this point. Animal products: Fiber score=0%. Whole foods plant based diet: Fiber score = > 100%.

Don’t be one of those people who don’t learn from other’s mistakes. Don’t be that person who lost a love one to cancer and doesn’t want to go through that shit but continues to do the things that don’t help prevent cancer but in fact sets up the ideal environment for cancer promotion.

You wanna use the hashtag #fuckcancer than actually do it, fuckcancer. Reduce or eliminate the foods that harm us and increase the whole plant foods increasing your fiber.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing

Beware of this trap.

Water, the life substance. We cannot live long without water. We need it to survive and we need it throughout our day to maintain proper body functions but in excess it can be harmful. In fact it can actually kill you. Have you ever heard of someone dying while competing in an endurance race? I’ve heard of it happening close to where I live. The person (I’m assuming not well trained to complete in such a race) consumed too much water thus diluting the sodium in their body causing hyponatremia. Basically water moves from your blood to your cells, causing the cells to expand, and causing swelling of the brain.

Too much exercising and not enough recovery time can be detrimental to our health too. I guess the title of my post is a bit click baity but it’s to emphasize a point I’ll be making soon.

The Case

I’m going to take a look at a supplement, specifically magnesium, and what being deficient in magnesium can mean to us and also what having too much magnesium can also do.

What

Magnesium like a lot of minerals plays an important role in our well being. It is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions including energy metabolism and protein synthesis. It is also involved in muscle and nerve functions, energy production, and also plays a role in the transport of potassium and calcium ions. Basically it is an essential ion to the human body.

Not Enough

So what could you experience if you are not getting enough magnesium? Here’s a list of common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Elevated PMS symptoms
  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • Muscle weakness and cramps

Too Much

Now lets look at the opposite, what happens if you get too much magnesium from supplementing:

  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you noticed above I specifically stated from supplementing. This is because the body will naturally get rid of excess magnesium via the kidneys when consumed in the foods we eat.

Then what

Muscle weakness and cramping, these two things existing in both cases. How would you know the difference between too much or not enough? So what do we do? You are now thinking if you don’t supplement or if you do supplement you’ll still be in a bad place. You can’t win, right? But you can.

First, what I think is the most important thing you can do for your health is to adopt a whole foods plant based diet. Notice I’m not using the word vegan. There’s a reason for this. Following a vegan life style is just that, it’s a life style that goes beyond what you eat such as what you wear and buy. You can eat nothing but Oreo’s and still be vegan. Not a good choice though is it. A whole foods plant based diet is what is sounds like it is. Whole foods that are plants, not processed foods. Minimizing oils, salts, sugars. Sounds boring, right? But it’s not. Check out this book to see that there are a lot of exciting options when it comes to cooking with plants.

Without getting into it too deeply try to consume a variety of plants: onions, dark green leafy vegetables, potatoes, bright coloured peppers, whole grain unprocessed rice, seeds, nuts, avocados, tofu and so on. Prepare these foods not adding anything or if you like to add salt and oil but at a minimum. If you eat this way it is virtually impossible to eat too much and add unwanted fat to your body. Because these foods are whole foods, not processed, they are nutrient dense but caloric light unlike processed foods which are the inverse. Here’s what I mean; fat has 9 calories per gram where as protein and carbs have 4 calories. And because whole plant based foods are high in fiber you will feel full and satisfied without having to consume all those calories.

But what does this have to do with magnesium? By eating these foods you should be getting all the magnesium you need, naturally.

But

But if you aren’t sure and you think you might be deficient in magnesium visit your doctor for blood work and ask that magnesium be added to the tests. If the results come back that you are low in magnesium then talk to your doctor about options to address it.

Finally

I hope this helps make things clear. Supplementing should be our last option, our first option changing what we eat. Think of it as putting cheap fuel into your car and because of this your having to buy a higher grade of oil to combat engine wear. Why not just put better fuel into the car? The same goes for your body. And not having to supplement means not having to spend money on expensive pills.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Shiver and say the words

I’m on my way

 

Finally, after a couple years of pondering.

I’m on my way to a nutrition certificate. A plant based nutrition certificate from Cornell University. I’ll be able to provide the full solution to you health needs. I’ve always strived my best to do this, but now I can.

I’ve wanted to be certified in nutrition for a couple years now and I finally made the decision to commit to the course. Of course I decided to be certified in plant based nutrition because that is really the only option when it comes to nutrition. And of course I am taking the course offered by Dr. T. Collin Campbell, the author of The China Study, the most comprehensive study of nutrition.

I’ll no longer have to amend my posts with ‘I am not certified in nutrition…’.

I will now certifiably be your one place to go to for your health needs.

Wish me luck.

Yours in health,

Darryl

wanting it easier than this

I often forget, but lately I’ve been reminded.

To me it’s pretty high up there, almost right up there with water. Lately at least it has. We can neglect this for many reasons, some being self inflicted the remaining due to circumstances of our life. And you don’t always realize the level of severity until your sane sense of mind returns.

Sleep

It’s been a really long week for me, physically and mentally. It’s been a sad time as my best friend, and teacher, dad passed away. With all that comes along with that I’ve been teaching all classes. And also due to a relatively new warehouse management system implemented earlier this year where I work it’s been really early mornings for me having to deal with unplanned warehouse outages. Also to add onto that my nagging shoulder and,I don’t know why, a really tight/sore mid upper back has not made for the best sleep when I’ve been able to get it.

We can feel the tiredness and sometimes even the toll this has on our mental faculties as we struggle to get through the day and mentally have to process things. And we don’t always realize it until that sleep comes upon us, enough of it and we then realize how it impacted us. How we weren’t the person we normally are. How we couldn’t quite process things in a manner that may have made sense. It reminds me of watching a video on youtube at a quality of 144p then seeing it again in HD. Things then become sharper. Of course I realize the impact lack of sleep has on our processing part of the brain. Tests have been done to show this. We lose some of the ability to do math, our reading becomes slower and reflexes too. But I don’t believe I’ve seen studies on the impact lack of sleep can have on us emotionally. I’ll have to look for that.

Also, if part of your life includes goals that involve physical performance lack of sleep will negatively impact that. Sleeping allows our body to go through the process of healing itself from the damage done by exercising (micro tears of muscle fiber) allowing the process of muscles repairing and getting stronger/bigger. When you sleep your body produces infection fighting substances like cytokines. If you don’t get enough sleep you are impacting your body from fending of invaders and also it may take you longer to get better when you do get sick.

Lack of sleep can also impact balance putting you at risk for an immediate injury or lead to improper technique when exercising causing unnecessary stress on joints and connective tissue.

Why

I do realize I’ve recently written a post on importance of sleep. But I thought, no more like felt the need to write this one. If you have one of those days, or even weeks where you know you didn’t get the sleep you needed try to keep things to a lesser demanding schedule if you can. Keep things subdued and try not to do anything that calls on you to be at your best.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

same time, different year

I think each of us deal with two primary voices we hear from our brain. One voice, the voice that tells us to stay in bed, the voice that tells us that there will always be tomorrow to get up and go running, the voice that tells us to indulge more than we should.

Will it be different?

 

Clocks have been set back an hour, darkness upon us earlier into the night. Getting colder and colder as the weeks go on.

This time of year along with the deep winter months can be tough to keep yourself motivated. The darkness can effect us in a bad way, and during the day when it’s not sunny out, that can keep us in the dumps some times, or most times. What can be done about it?

The voice

I think each of us deal with two primary voices we hear from our brain. One voice, the voice that tells us to stay in bed, the voice that tells us that there will always be tomorrow to get up and go running, the voice that tells us to indulge more than we should. We have another voice, the voice that tells us how better we will feel after the work out, the voice that tells us we will be closer to our goal if we work out, the voice that in a sense lets us know what the right thing to do is. But, the first voice is very strong. It’s strong on it’s own but can be strengthened by events from our life, things that have shaped us. And it can be hard to ignore. The first voice is the voice that we should ignore and not pay attention to. Some times the messages from that voice can be really hurtful, the messages like we’re not worth it, we don’t deserve it, it’s too scary, what if I fail, and it doesn’t matter anyway.

That voice is 100% negative, not benefiting us in anyway. It’s hard to ignore, I know, but we have to. We have to not listen to it as it does us no benefit to listen to it. It will never be the voice that gets us to where we need to be to cross the finish line in our next race, to complete our next triathlon, the voice that gets us the job we want. It’s the voice that will stop you from doing all of those things, if you listen to it.

How

How do I know? Because I honestly believe that all of us can do those things. All of us have the parts, the tools, the capabilities to do anything we want if we work at it and do what is needed to accomplish great things. 30 years ago running a marathon was a HUGE deal. You were an elite athlete if you completed a marathon. Today? It’s not uncommon to know people who have done that. Now, people are running ultra marathons, multiple day endurance races. People are completing 5 ironman triathons in 5 days! But of course these must be gifted people, people who genetically are superior. Nah, I don’t think so. These people are no different that you or I. They have struggled like you and I. They still struggle, everyone does. They decided though to not listen to that first voice but listen to the voice that is the positive voice, the voice that says if you want this then do it. Get up in the morning and do it. Tomorrow is there but what are you doing today? The voice that says you can do it, why not?

Why Not

And why not? What is holding you back? Really, what is it? Fear, intimidation, lack of time, self doubt? Whatever it is you will never get started and do these things if you don’t address them. Fear of failure? I’d rather fail at something than not try at all. You learn about yourself when you fail, you learn the good things about yourself. Failure should be something we accept especially if we tried our best. And if anyone criticizes you because of it then maybe you don’t need to hang around those people any longer. It is so easy to sit back on the side lines and criticize people for falling, for failing. But if you fail than so what? You TRIED to do it. And there’s next time. Look honestly as to why you failed and make changes. And what was the failure anyway? Did you fail to complete the marathon but completed half of it? Wow, you just completed a half marathon! Pretty awesome!

Be honest with yourself be it a success or failure. Analyze and determine what things could have been done differently for a better outcome. And move forward. You only harm yourself dwelling on failures.

Lack of time can be remedied by reducing time spent doing things that do not get you to your goal. We all love spending time on the internet but if that is preventing you from reaching your goal than it’s not helping you. Sometimes we do these things because we can zone out, relax. Try meditation to relax. There are many more benefits to this than passively watching vids.

Self doubt is a real killer. I think most of us, or maybe all of us have that in us. Sometimes self doubt is used to stop us from starting something new, or making a change in our lives. We’d rather go through life dealing with the same shit every day, knowing how much we detest it instead of making a change. It’s familiar, comfortable even though it’s harmful. I had an opportunity to become a ship’s diver, a 6 week course with a 60% failure rate. As it got closer to the course I was scared shitless! I heard so many stories of so many failures that I almost pulled out. To this day I’m glad I didn’t. I became a member of an elite team and also had the opportunity to become  a full time commercial diver. I finished first in my class. Now, if I did pull out I would never have had the opportunity to learn these things about myself.

The other voice

Listen to the voice that tells you what you need to do to achieve your goals. Listen to that voice that says to get out of bed even though it’s cold and miserable outside. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you to do these things that make you grow as a person. You will become a passive influencer. Become that roll model for younger people. We need more of those. Too many people of lesser quality are influencing our younger generations. No longer is the message to push yourself hard, to do great things with your life, to strive to achieve that huge goal. Instead they are learning that money is everything no matter what the cost. Shallowness rules the social media networks.

Become someone you want to be and let that rub off onto others. It’s awesome to do that and give back what you got. Be that person you need, or needed in your life for someone else.

Lastly

I didn’t think this post was going to be this long. I only meant it to be a post about helping you with this time of year but if it helps you get that kick in the ass you need than it was worth it.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Remembering games and daisy chains

You raise the blade, you make the change

 

I apologize now if this post reads negatively. You may construe it as being negative but it isn’t. Sometimes when we read or hear something that dispels common beliefs or your own beliefs we tend to call the messenger negative. Someone who believes they are realistic are commonly referred to as negative. Hopefully in the end though this article won’t be viewed as negative. I hope to provide enough data that this will be the case.

What

Steps. Getting your steps in. I work in an office environment and I sit on the perimeter of  a large amount of cubicles. I often have people walking by where I sit because they got to get their steps in. Recently there has been a new recruit in the pursuit of getting steps in. This person is much younger than the others, not that that really matters other than showing the demographic of step getters has expanded from people in late adulthood to people in their early adulthood years. I was intrigued by this new stepper and decided to ask her some questions. Basically the idea is to reach your goal of daily steps to keep fit and stay active.

The issue

Unfortunately some people, or maybe most people look at fitness trackers, or more specifically ‘getting my steps in’ as a substitute for real exercise. If you are someone who for medical reasons cannot participate in a form of exercise that increases your heart rate to at least 80%, or cannot participate in any resistance training then I’m ok if getting your steps in is all you do.

But if you do not fall into the above then getting in steps should be something in addition to your workout. If you are desk bound at your job then great, a reminder to get up and walk around. Everyone should get out of their chair frequently regardless of being at work or home. But many times this becomes the substitute to the workout. People actually think they are doing their part to keep themselves healthy. And this gives a false sense of security.

Why is that? Because getting in 10,000 steps doesn’t take into consideration the intensity. And what about duration? If it took me 8 hours to get in 10,000 steps there really isn’t much of a benefit other than being mobile, or somewhat mobile. My heart rate isn’t increasing that much if at all so I’m not realizing the benefits from a high intense workout. And why 10,000? If I am really active in my life, I run 3x a week, or I swim, does getting in 10,000 steps a day benefit me? Maybe I should be getting in 30,000 steps?

This process of getting in 10,000 steps also give people a false sense of achievement. They no longer feel guilty about eating that second piece of cake, or having an additional doughnut. It becomes a justification to indulge: “hey, pass me another piece of pie, I got room, I got my 10,000 steps in today!”. Not to be crass but this happens. Let’s just say of all the ‘stepper’s’ there are where I work, none of them would appear to be healthy. Not by a slim margin but a large margin. I’d even go as far to say they would fall under the obese category for body weight.

As a personal trainer I like to find out why people are getting in their steps and what they feel the benefit is. I have to take a somewhat detached approach because if I don’t my personal trainer side, and also my side of me that wants to help people will come out. My tendencies to let them know that this should be in addition to a regular intense workout that includes resistance training doesn’t go over well. And I have to work with these people too so I don’t need to make any enemies.

I don’t want to say it’s a cult but some of these steppers are hardcore about the benefits and it is almost like a badge of honor, like they just completed a triathlon. Stepping with pride. And these fitness trackers aren’t cheap either so telling someone that their fitness tracker is not the panacea for achieving a healthy life style can be a really downer.

Is it that we live in an age where the goal is feeling good about ourselves regardless of the cost, both monetarily and health wise? Is it the marketing? Is it wanting to belong to a group that drives us to do this?

I don’t know. Maybe some of these or all of them.

Or I might know what it is. People have their minds made up and don’t want to change. If they change it means they were wrong. And that’s hard to accept. I see it once in a while You interact with someone over a number of months and they aren’t making any fitness gains. So you talk to them and express what they should be doing. Either they change or they don’t. Mostly they don’t. They don’t change what they are doing and they don’t change physically because they DON’T change what they are doing. For sure, it could be me, the messenger. But I think it’s fair to say most times it’s the person. Stubbornness, pride, fearing the unknown. Some people don’t want to change because they may feel there are consequences to being a different person. As an example becoming vegan for some people is tough because of the social impact. You can no longer eat grandma’s turkey at thanksgiving, or going to a friends BBQ may mean bringing your own food and having to deal with the questions around that. Some people just don’t want to deal with that. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. But I do believe psychology plays a huge role in fitness and health.

But I digress.

If you get yourself a fitness tracker use it to it’s fullest. Use it for the heart rate monitor so you know you are hitting that 90% bpm when training intensely. Use it to monitor your sleep so you know you are resting well. Use it for steps to get yourself out of the chair at the office but only for that reason, not as a substitute for a good workout.

Yours in health,

Darryl